Crony Capitalism For Me But Not For Thee

Anaheim Insider here.

This is on the “Tom Tait for Mayor of Anaheim” Facebook page:

Tait crony capitalism

“Crony capitalism is a cancer on our party.”

Oh brother. Unless Tom Tait is on the receiving end of it, apparently.

The City of Garden Grove is subsidizing the Great Wolf Lodge Water Park resort and hotel project to the tune of almost $50 million:

As part of a 2010 deal, city leaders agreed to advance $5 million to Colorado-based developer McWhinney Enterprises, then pay another $42 million soon after the hotel opens. Officials also plan to give McWhinney public land worth about $22 million.

Chad McWhinney was a long-time associate and protege of the late OC GOP Chairman Tom Fuentes, who connected McWhinney and Tait when he worked forTait & Associates for a number of years.

The developer, McWhinney Enterprises, is no stranger to public subsidies nor to Tait. Back in 2000, as documents show, Tait & Associates received engineering contracts for “Site B” on Harbor Blvd. and Chapman Ave. to the total tune of $39,500. That intersection became part of a six-hotel development that McWhinney was involved in partnership with Stonebridge Companies in retaining the services of Tait’s firm.

It’s OK for Tom Tait to get contracts with the City of Garden Grove for work to support a friend’s development project that is being massively subsidized by Garden Grove taxpayers; exactly the sort of thing he denounces in front of the Republican Party of Orange County. But that’s not a “cancer on our party.” Actions speak louder than words.

Apparently, more than a few of the OC GOP Central Committee members ate it up. Maybe the party’s nick-name should be changed to the Gullible Old Party.

Chief Tait Sycophant Cynthia Ward commented:

“Anaheim is ground central for a fight to the death between left and right, and wrong and right.”

Someone ought to tell the OC GOP Central Committee that Tom Tait is working hard alongside the ACLU, the Democratic Party of Orange County and a slew of liberal unions to change Anaheim’s council election system from at-large to single-member districts, the surest way to turn Anaheim from the largest city in California with a Republican council to just another noisy, fractious Democratic city council pushing liberal anti-business ordinances and rewarding public employee unions.

The OC GOP’s mission is to elect Republicans, not cheer on the elected Republican who is trying hard to make it easier to elect Democrats.

That’s assuming the local GOP activists are interested in what is really happening in Anaheim.


  1. You’re really reaching here to go back over a decade for less than $50k, but hey, whatever floats your boat.

    “It’s OK for Tom Tait to get contracts with the City of Garden Grove for work to support a friend’s development project that is being massively subsidized by Garden Grove taxpayers.”

    Thanks for that. The Gardenwalk giveaway is TRIPLE the size of this “massively subsidized” hotel in GG.

    Oh, yeah, the guy who got the giveaway? Campaign donor to whom? PAC supporter benefiting whom? . . . :-/

    Let’s line that up with a peanuts contract from 10 years ago, a contract for actual work with real deliverables, and talk crony capitalism.

    “That’s assuming the local GOP activists are interested in what is really happening in Anaheim.”

    I sure hope so. The way the majority is going, Anaheim will be purple by 2016 and permanently deep dark royal blue in 2020. They’re absolutely killing the party and districting has nothing to do with it.

    • Ryan, your argument is not convincing. You excuse away contradictions as if it is ok because you think Mayor Tait’s business dealings are peanuts.

      • Well, no . . . the argument is that there are much bigger fish to fry, but OK . . .

        If you want an argument for “OK”, it’d be more on that the grounds that there’s no evidence presented that the contract wasn’t bid, that it violated GG procurement policy, that deliverables weren’t met or weren’t in the public interest, or why Tait & Assoc didn’t deserve to be awarded the bid. I’m not going to look into it (because there are bigger fish to fry), but if you want to– be my guest. Those would be grounds to actually support a case for hypocrisy and cronyism, which is not so surprisingly completely absent here.

        I’m just claiming that this is a pretty substantial reach on its face, which is to your point a weak argument as its not supported . . . but let’s be honest . . . no one here would care if it were a bulletproof rebuttal.

        • Bigger fish to fry? Come on.

          Integrity and being faithful to principle (i.e. not being a hypocrite) are at the heart of Tom Tait’s political personality and appeal. This blatant double-standard completely undermines that.

          Talking about whether or not the proper RFP processes were followed is a red herring. I’m sure they were, and I’m sure it was made clear who should get the contract.

          If this involved Kris Murray and Willdan getting work on a buddy’s project being subsidized by the city, you and your blog buddies would be quick to claim cronyism, instead of excusing it because it’s “only” $50,000. Good to know cronyism is OK if it is under a certain dollar threshold.

          • Cronyism is not OK for any dollar value. I think you’re wasting your time trying to draw a parallel to over a $1,000,000,000 in taxpayer handouts in three years vs. $50,000 fron ten years ago, but I’m not a voter in Anaheim. Don’t stretch that statement to mean I’m endorsing lower level cronyism, because that’s simply not true.

            Red herring my foot. A bid is a bid is a bid, and if it survives a true competitive process, that’s USUALLY a good indicator that cronyism doesn’t exist. That is, after all, you know– the entire purpose of an RFP. The author of this piece (and apparently you) just threw out the existence of a contract as de facto evidence that something improper occurred. Well, sorry– but that’s bull. Like in the examples I brought up, breaking the rules to get a buddy a contract? Yeah, that’s cronyism. Bidding on a public project and winning? No. Not on its own. Gimme more than some hail Mary pass from a dark room by an anonymous blogger.

            You’re absolutely right that I’d be all over Murray for handing a public check to one of her buddies. Anyone want to discuss the Enterprise Zone contract with the Chamber? How’d that audit go? Let’s see it, we’ll compare it to the deliverables Tait’s firm was supposed to turn in 10 years ago, then we’ll talk about cronyism.

            Guess how that chat is gonna go.

            If ya’ll want to reach like this, that’s your business. I’m sure you can do better. Anyway, I stand by my claim that Eastman getting shellacked 4-2 is a more interesting story than $50k from 10 years ago. It’s more relevant to the road to November 2014, which is what we all care about.

            • As I’ve said, Ryan: I’ve never, ever seen you challenge the frequent charges of cronyism made by your fellow Orange Juice bloggers. Cynthia Ward can’t open her mouth without accusing someone of crony capitalism. When I see you just adamant in demanding they back up their charges, then I will take your demands seriously.

              • Fair enough. BUT, consider this.

                Assuming they do poor work, they attach their name to it.

                Seeing how you don’t, perhaps you should lead by example and put some evidence behind your accusation.

                At least their reputation would have to suffer. You have no consequence, which isn’t right.

  2. It’s not a shade of grey, Ryan. As Anaheim Inside has pointed out, Tom Tait has violated his own standard of what is a conflict of interest. Sad to say, but Tom Tait has made himself a hypocrite in order to further a political agenda. He’s being two-faced. That’s pretty damaging since integrity and being faithful to his principles is the heart of Tait’s political personality.

  3. [Yet another failure by Gussy to make a logical point.]

  4. Ryan – you are clearly not informed on the hotel programs in Garden Grove and Anaheim. GG approved the same TOT subsidy when you compare both in current day dollars. The $158M was a CAP not a guarantee and is based on the total value in year 15 – current day the subsidy was appx $75M for both hotels. In addition, GG gave Taits developer free land and other red tape benefits that were not provided by Anaheim’s program. Last but not least Tait voted for 50 percent TOT subsidies over and over again as a council member so he has a long history of crony capitalism by his definition during his 10 previous years on the council. His “principaled” and reformed stance would carry much more weight if he didn’t line his pockets by this assistance in neighboring cities – thus taking hotel opportunities from Anaheim because the deals were better in GG. You make nothing but excuses for Tait – he is a hypocrite and there is no kindness in this man who attacks his colleagues and city staff and questions their character but none of them are paying their mortgages off the largess of these development deals.

    • I’m kinda at a loss on how to respond to this.

      Are you saying I did something wrong or Tait did?

      If the former, spell it out for me cause I don’t get it. If the later, you’re not going to see me defend Tait’s votes for the last ten years. “You make nothing but excuses for Tait” . . . I think you’ll be pretty hard pressed to find me defending him at all, really. So far at least.

  5. The King has no clothes

    The King of Crony Capitalism = Tom Tait

    1. Every hotel deal in Garden Grove where the city gave free land and TOT to a developer – Tom Tait’s company got a piece of it.

    2. Tom Tait’s company got a piece of each of the two federal government base re-use deals in Orange County – Tustin Air station and Irvine Great park.

    3. Tom Tait voted for every hotel TOT deal in Anaheim until he was elected mayor.

    4. Tom Tait voted for the Gardenwalk project giving the developer sales tax and TOT, while he was on the council.

    5. MORE TO COME……on the King of Crony Capitalism!

  6. Tait is horrible. Thank you for finally shedding some light to the Garden Grove fiasco. This is terrible.

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